tradition (tra`di•cn) n.. The body of customs, thought, practices, etc.,
belonging to a particular family, and handed down from generation to generation,
especially by word of mouth, over a relatively long period.
We spent most of the day
preparing for tonight's non-traditional dinner. I did the Martha Stewart
detail work, while DH did the Ming Tsai (chef) thing, cooking with
love and appreciation for good food and family. By 5 pm, everything was
in place, including the adorable kiss-kiss bears dinner party
"favors,"and dinner was ready to roll:
I stepped into the
arrived a half hour early. As I stepped out of the shower, I
could hear their bright laughter punctuating their lively
conversation. I smiled. This was family. No problem. They'd
make themselves at home.
If you haven't already
met my family,
Dressed, I was showered
again, this time with hugs and kisses from Sue, Alana, Jonathan and
Samara. Earlier, Alana had driven alone from Fresno in central
California after spending the weekend with Jeremy, her boyfriend,
and his family. So, my hug back to her was filled with
gratitude and relief for her safe arrival.
With the glow of
candlelight on our faces, we sat down to enjoy DH's culinary
Christmas Eve Dinner
Cheese with Crackers
Purple Potato Chips
Tuscany Bread Salad
with balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil dressing
by Samara & Jonathan
with Uncle T's Outrageously 'Ono Garlic Wasabi Sauce,
a welcome assault to the senses
cooked in champagne
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Boston Cream Pie
a light, layered cake with a smooth, creamy custard center
and slathered with a blissfully rich, dark chocolate
So why is it called a pie?
Amid the warm family
spirit, DH pulled the corks off a Black Mountain Merlot &
Sanford Chardonnay that complemented his dinner courses.
Hardly a dutiful encore to Thanksgiving dinner, DH's non-traditional
Christmas dinner delighted our eyes and palates.
Samara and Jonathan are
following in their Uncle T's (DH's) culinary footsteps well, as they
concocted a mouth-watering, sophisticated Tuscany bread salad.
With pride and joy, we are watching their marriage grow into a
beautiful and solid partnership. Adoring each other and
self-aware as individuals and as a couple, they bring out the best
in each other.
Alana shared bits and
pieces of info about her beau, and yes, we were all ears, hungry for
anything about this young man who has captured Alana's
heart. She survived our light-hearted, egregiously nosey
"interrogation." We want someone who
absolutely adores her as we do, but she needn't worry about our
concern; if she loves him, we will love him, unconditionally.
We recalled intimate,
family Christmas Eve dinners of Christmases past. Danville.
Mama Tosca's in Bakerfield. Breckenridge, Colorado. Yorba
Linda. Tradition is a good thing.
As we were clearing the
table, Alana was sopping up the last of the wasabi sauce on her
plate with some bread before she surrendered it to the
dishwasher. She already makes her Uncle T's fabulous spaghetti
sauce, so why not his garlic-wasabi sauce? A copy of the recipe was
photocopied for her. Maybe she'll knock Jeremy's socks off with her
for the recipe for Grilled Steaks with Uncle T's Outrageously 'Ono
After dinner, they
lavished us with wonderful gifts, and then we settled into the most
traditional part of our Christmas celebration. Every year, we do a
puzzle. Yes, a puzzle.
A jigsaw puzzle.
It's a very cozy
tradition. Very symbolic, I think. We tightly gather
around a table, each working feverishly on solving the puzzle
together. We help and cheer on each other, amid spirited
teasing, bantering and chatting. We moan and groan when
someone dares to look at the picture on the front of the box for
help, as it is AGAINST THE LAW.
Whose law, you
ask? Wayne's law!
Wayne -- our
goddaughter's father, Sue's husband, and our buddy -- started the
tradition. An engineer with a well-honed sense of space and
forms, he was the greatest puzzler of us all, and whenever we're stuck, we
invoke Wayne's help.
Boy, did we need his help last
night. Even rotating positions didn't help. The teddy bear puzzle
was a bit more than challenging than our abilities, and as the clock
ticked into Christmas Day, we decided to call it quits and promised
to finish it on New Year's Day.
We will finish it.
Tradition dictates it.
Talking about tradition,
maybe Sue has the last puzzle piece in her pocket?
Next year? A
Traditional Italian Christmas Eve Dinner
"Life is a Gift."
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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